Hormone-replacement therapy

GH from domestic mammals like cows and pigs does not work in humans. So for many years, the only source of GH for therapy was that extracted from the glands of human cadavers. But this supply was shut off when several patients died from a rare neurological disease attributed to contaminated glands. Now, thanks to recombinant DNA technology, recombinant human GH (rHGH) is available. [2]

How recombinant technology works:

  1. Recombinant technology begins with the isolation of a gene of interest. The gene is then inserted into a vector and cloned. A vector is a piece of DNA that is capable of independent growth; commonly used vectors are bacterial plasmids and viral phages. The gene of interest (foreign DNA) is integrated into the plasmid or phage, and this is referred to as recombinant DNA.
  2. Before introducing the vector containing the foreign DNA into host cells to express the protein, it must be cloned. Cloning is necessary to produce numerous copies of the DNA since the initial supply is inadequate to insert into host cells.
  3. Once the vector is isolated in large quantities, it can be introduced into the desired host cells such as mammalian, yeast, or special bacterial cells. The host cells will then synthesize the foreign protein from the recombinant DNA. When the cells are grown in vast quantities, the foreign or recombinant protein can be isolated and purified in large amounts. [3]

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